Thursday, March 30, 2006

PM Saniora: Slave to a slave ???

I personally do not agree with many things Saniora stands for, or stood for.

But, currently he is the only representative of the Executive authority in Lebanon who is both Legal and Legitimate. Consequently, I find it an insult from all the 'dialogue poles' to request from the Prime Minister to go meet with the Syrian authority after he was publically called a slave to a slave.

I think the two options the 'poles' should have agreed on as a pre-requisite of such a move:

1) the government of Lebanon fully endorses a request from the Syrian government to appologize from the Lebanese, as the insults came from their President and not free press.

2) the current pro-Syria MPs step down from the cabinet or remove the confidence from the government for having at the top of it a slave to a slave.

They can eithr endorse the statement of him being a slave or resent it... but not ignore it while asking the PM to go meet them.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A demonstration

NOT August 7, 2001 in Beirut...

NOT February 5, 2006 in Beirut...

All the pictures are for a prostest that took place few days ago in France...
by Students..

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A national revolution or just a ‘disturbance’ to the Syrian control: What is March 14 going to be?

It is important to look in to the 2004 Orange revolution of Ukraine and learn from it.
Former President Yanukovych’s pro-Russian party is regaining the first place in the exit polls of the current parliamentary elections. It is important to look into the indicators of such a come back.
Yushchenko (Orange President) removed Tymoshenko (Orange prime minister) earlier last year after they both accused each other of corruption.
Yanukovych (the pro-Russian) had an easier task: blocking the progress of his opponents.
Broad coalitions are to be normally re-divided if they don’t work on a shared agenda. Such coalitions previously had different agendas and only shared the same priority for a while.

In Lebanon, it is not true to consider that the Syrians were controlling Lebanon since 1976 without admitting that their control suffered many ‘disturbances’. For example, in 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon gaining control over the Parliament, electing a new President and signing the famous May 17 agreement among other things. The Syrian loss was considered irreversible as Lebanon entered a new era according to many. The Syrians proved later this to be wrong for some 22 years after their powerfull comeback.

The point is, Syria is out due to the people’s pressure along with International pressure and other variables. The anti-Syrian bloc (March14 bloc) secured a majority in the parliament. They and only they ensure the institutional lock to that Syrian control.

However, from the Ukrainian example, we should note that it is not just a game to put the people in the streets, promise them issues and then forget about them due to electoral interests, personal agendas, or being under attack.

This works for a year or maybe two, but not for long.

Now, it is up to the March 14 leadership to decide what they want. Listen to the March14 people, be critical about their own performance and secure the end of the Syrian control. Or, stay distracted with several agendas and make the current Syrian withdrawal only a ‘disturbance’ in the Syrian control over Lebanon rather than an end to it.

On Ukrainian elections:
Ruling Party Suffers Rout in Ukraine: Pro-Russian Group Leads in Exit Polls

Lets Merge the army with Hizbollah....Jumblatt said

After UN envoy's statement to merge Hizbollah with the army, and the rejection of Hizbollah to that issue. Jumblatt sarcastically suggested why don't they merge the army with Hizbollah.

It is funny how they are dealing with the issue. They do believe they are a country inside the country and are dealing with it accordingly...

Monday, March 27, 2006

UN considers it a resisting militia

It was published on this blog on February 16 and March 10 that Hizbollah is both a militia and a resistance. It has a militia structure while its function is most of the times resistance.

Yesterday, UN special envoy Terje Roed-Larsen was the first to conclude that a militia can be a resistance party as well in nature .

two related posts

Friday, March 24, 2006

Delays so far...

102 days and no Investigative Judge for Gebran Tueni assasination ...

47 days and the Prime Minister didn't yet accept the resignation of Minister Sabeh, current Minister of Interior. It is not clear if he is still the minister or not. Consitutionally he is still, and the acting minister in his place is not constitutional (appointment of acting is in the case of travel or medical case)

10 days passed since the deadline for removing Lahoud from office. The whole action plan of removing Lahoud was somehow suspended. Geagea's surprise??? we are still waiting

March14 bloc --- internal dialogue needed

It is really obvious that March 14 bloc should have a serious internal dialogue.

An agreement should be reached on the following:
1- A common agenda on stand from Lahoud. Platform of the upcomming president, and possibly a list of nominees or a single candidate.
2- A common agreement on their stand from Hizbollah's arms. A defence strategy as alternative to their arms should also be prepared.
3- A common agreement on a common economic reform agenda.
4- A common stand from the electoral law.

This way, they and the public will have a clearer view of their current demands, priorities.

Only then, they can claim they want to rebuild the state. Till now, it is nothing but a bunch of promises without a clear overview of the future or what is the state that they want.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

8 days passed after the deadline to remove Lahoud...

Eight days passed since March 14 and still the majority bloc didn't keep its promise to remove Emile Lahoud from office.

What they lack is a clear strategy that they had almost a month ago... How to achieve their next goal?

Monday, March 20, 2006

All Lebanese agree on this...

Among the few things all Lebanese agree on is:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Former Army General Michel Aoun: 2005 - 2006

A race with time... What Aoun needs now is the OK of the Patriarch, or any of the constituencies of the parliament majority bloc for him to become the next President. He has to do that in the upcoming days... or weeks...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Nasib Lahoud: the next president or just a card in the dialogue

the name of Nasib Lahoud has became very popular as the next President to be proposed by the March 14 bloc...

What is important now is:
- if he is their choice
- or just a first name to be placed on the table and turned down...

Most probably he is the second one, but if he was agreed upon already, then the whole dialogue is nothing but a reality show whose plot was previously finalized...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Excerpts from the UNIIIC Report of March 15, 2006

- The commission does not deem it appropriate, at this stage to disclose further details of its work as this may unnecessarily threaten the security of witnesses, compromise the collection of future evidence and undermine the outcome of the investigation as a whole.
- The commission held two high level meetings with Syrian Government officials (one in Damascas and one in Beirut)
- An understanding has been reached with the Syrian government.It will be tested in the upcoming months.
- Uncertainties surrounding the actual length of the Commission’s mandate had led to the gradual departure of significant numbers of key staff.

Progress in the investigation:
- The commission has also further examined the possibility of an aboveground/underground or combination impact.
- Exact time of the blast: the time given by the initial fact-finding mission report (12:56:26) differs from the one given from the National Centre of Geophysics in Lebanon (12:55:05)
- While there still remains contradictory information on whether the blast/s occurred underground or above ground (as well as on the immediate events surrounding the attack), the Commission is pursuing promising lines of inquiry and achieving clarity in this respect. It has prioritized its evaluation of possible road works occurring in the vicinity of the explosion prior to the detonation.
- The individuals who perpetrated this crime appear to be very ‘professional’ in their approach, as they planned to a high percentage likelihood for success, and conducted the operation with high standards of individual and collective self-discipline. It must be assumed that at least some of those involved were likely experienced in this type of terrorist activity.
- The mooted delay of Mr. Hariri Motorcade and the apparent interference with telecommunications on February 14, 2005 have been largely dealt with by the Commission, and it has satisfied itself as to the findings and their relevance.
- The Commission also continues to investigate and evaluate the extent to which certain intercepted telephone conversations referred to previously provide any insight into the scope of involvement of key individuals in the assassination.
- The second report mentioned that a fund operated by the former Director of Surete Generale was being cross-checked with other lines of inquiry. This remains the case today and continues to be a factor for investigative consideration as and when appropriate.
- Sensitive sources and potential witnesses who appear to possess credible information relevant to the investigation have on occasion conditioned their cooperation with the Commission upon the premise that their information will not be divulged to the Lebanese authorities.
- Discussions began regarding witness protection support programs.

Technical Assistance on 14 other Cases:
- All Lebanese judges agree with the finding that the crime scenes were interfered with in the immediate aftermath of the blast/s, although not necessarily maliciously.
- Coordination between different security services needs to be improved
- The Security services use investigative techniques with no analytical capacity and electronic tools, and lack technical administrative resources such as computers and photocopy machines.

International Cooperation:
- Syria has signaled that it will fully comply should the Commission request the arrest of a Syrian official or individual suspected of involvement in the planning, sponsoring, organizing or perpetrating of the criminal acts at issue.
- The Syrian government has, through the SSJC, in particular in the last three months, formally complied with nearly all of the Commission’s previous requests.
- In February, the SSJC informed the Commission that it had examined the archives of the Military Intelligence and reviewed records related to the political situation in Lebanon, as requested by the Commission. A number of reports concerning the security and political situation in Lebanon were handed over to the Commission.
- French authorities provided valuable logistical assistance during the interview of a witness residing on French territory and are expected to facilitate additional witness and suspect interviews.
- The Commission had already highlighted the critical need for member states to make available to the Commission specific information of immediate relevance to the investigation.In conformity with the well-established practice of international judicial or law enforcement institutions, any such information provided on a confidential basis would not be disclosed and would be used for internal investigative purposes only.

- A significant number of new lines of inquiry, identified since January 2006, have already enabled faster-than-expected progress in two important areas
- The Commission is fully aware of the limitations that its conservative approach to sharing case relevant information publicly and providing details on the pursuit of particular lines of inquiry may pose to the Council. The Commission would like to take this opportunity to assure Council members that this cautious approach is an integral part of its overall investigation strategy, and indeed, is standard investigation practice.

The full report is available:

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

10 more hours and Lahoud will be removed from Office...

10 more hours and March 14 bloc will remove Lahoud as Geagea promised.

Geagea promised that "they have a surprise for all those who doubt. Removing Lahoud before March 14 is a strict decision that was already taken. "
"Lahoud is 'tayir, tayir' before March 14, its easier than any one would think... "

Is it...

Related news

Monday, March 13, 2006

Aoun: After the Syrian Withdrawal, Syria will leave its instruments of terror

"Following a Syrian withdrawal, it is quite conceivable that the Syrian regime will leave behind many of its instruments of terror and destruction as well as its paramilitary/intelligence apparatus. Therefore, it is imperative that Syrian withdrawal be accompanied by a complete disarmament of all armed elements. Only the legitimate armed forces of Lebanon can be entrusted with providing security to the Lebanese people. They are certainly capable of doing so when provided with a strong political leadership duly elected by the Lebanese themselves, rather than appointed by an occupying power as is the case today. Equally important, Lebanon will need certified tribunals to investigate and bring to justice all criminals who committed war atrocities and crimes against humanity."

A selection from the speech of Michel Aoun for Syria Accountability and Lebanon's Soverignty Restoration Act.

Full text:

Nasrallah: The cardinal and the Secretary General

The top two files in Lebanon now that are being debated are the Presidential elections and the Hizbollah arms, both mainly controlled by religious figures Nasrallah.

Instead of raising his arms and praying, Nasrallah of Hizbollah, is responsible for negotiating on behalf of his other arms.

Also, instead of praying, Nasrallah of Maronites, is responisble for negotiating for his sect-seat called Lebanese Presidency, with more than half of the Lebanese leaders lined-up behind him.

Wishing one day a secular Nasrallah will come and ask the other two to go pray

Friday, March 10, 2006

Militia in structure & resistance in function

Just like a person can be both a tennis player and a journalist at the same time. When you call him a bad athlete it doesn't mean he is not a good journalist and definitly it doesnt change the fact that he is both.
Consequently, he can have more than one quality or hobby.

For Hizbollah, saying that they are a group resisting the Israelis is not a contradiction to saying later that they are a militia that is outside the scope of the government. They are both. They are a militia in their structure and a resistance in their function. (although their resistance is not within Taef)

Liberating Shebaa through arms is a revolt on Taef accord...

According to the Taef accord, a document that most Lebanese consider as the savior document that ended the civil war:

"Third. Liberating Lebanon fromthe Israeli occupation: Regaining state authority over the territories extending to the internationally-recognized Lebanese borders require the following.."

So, Taef mentions "INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED LEBANESE BORDERS", not any other one. Accordingly, any border conflict with Syria is not part of the liberation from the Israeli occupation. It falls under border conflict and requires diplomatic ways to amend the internationally-recognized Lebanese borders through the proper channels. After doing so, we can liberate it from the Israeli occupation as it becomes part of our internationally recognized borders.

Now, according to Taef, its time to go back to the armistice agreement of 1949 with Israel and send the Lebanese army to the south. We can do so in coordination with Hizbollah to give its positions and arms to the Lebanese army. (we can sign an agreement with them on the defence strategy of the army and the transition period)

The argument that "Shebaa is still occupied, we need to keep Hizbollah arms" falls according to Taef.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Aoun and Jumblatt switching places..

It was in 2002-2003 when Walid Joumblatt was attacking those who get the support of the US congress to impose sanctions on Syria. Aoun was the main Lebanese figure advocating such support. On the other hand Jumblatt was in his closest support with Hizbollah to the limit that he categorized them in the untouchable area despite of his alliances/stands when Aoun called them as a militia and a terrorist group functioning outside the scope of the government.

In 2005-2006 Walid Jumblatt is requesting from the US to impose sanctions on Syria and supports dismantling the militia Hizbollah, when Aoun strikes an alliance with Hizbollah and the pro-Syrian bloc.

Politics is fed by the amnesia of the people

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Syrian Resistance vs Israeli violations

The claims of Syria to keep Hizbollah before is that Israel is violating the Lebanese airspace and soverignty. Shebaa was one of the arguments but it was nothing but an argument.
Syria who claim to be the main Arab country in the "Arab Israeli" conflict did not resist a single Israeli since 1974. What is the Syrian reply to yesterday's Israeli violation to their airspace? Nothing probably... just like the previous 32 years..

Monday, March 06, 2006

A new April understanding regarding Hizbollah's arms

Placing the issues related to Hizbollah's arms as an item on the Internal Dialogue agenda is not enough. It is not just an issue of debate among major Lebanese poles if a party has the decision of peace and war. This issue should be part of a pact to be signed between Hizbollah and the Lebanese government.

The Lebanese government should prepare to sign a pact with Hizbollah, specifying the role of Hizbollah in Lebanon for the coming two years. Something similar to the April understanding in 1996 that made Hizbollah agree on not attacking Israeli civilians.

Some issues related to the pact:
1- The Lebanese Government can not take over border security while the Paletinean arms are outside the camps and the government did not yet resotred its full control over all Lebanese soil.
2- The current government is in the process of reforming its Intelligence and armed forces which would need some time for them to be ready to take over all the southern border. They currently can not control the borders with Syria (around 70 border entry), nor ensure the saftey of Lebanese major figures.

3- The arms of Hizbollah should not be removed with the same way the Syrians were forced to leave Lebanon (ie: forced to leave) as the party will remain in Lebanon.

4- The decision of when, how, and where to use the weapons sholud not be a decision for Hizbollah to make.

a- In coordination with the Lebanese Army, if an Israeli (or an Israeli machine) crosses the blue line then Hizbollah in coordination with the army can reply by attacking the violators.

b- Restoring Shebaa farms should be done via diplomatic ways after getting the clearance from the Syrians that it is not for them.

5- The weapons can never be used as a political message in reply to any regional situation in Shebaa or elsewhere.

6- Failing to comply with the pact, the arms should be taken by the Lebanese army instantly.

7- The Lebanese army should start taking control from Hizbollah on a monthly basis so that after the end of the two years the army should have full control of the borders.

8- The two years can't be extended under any circumstances.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Baabda Aley and Constitutional Conflict ---- Updates

A new candidate running for fun in Baabda Aley parliamentary elections to replace the vacant position.
In a previous post named "Baabda Aley and Constitutional Conflict" published on February 20, I mentioned that:

If any Maronite pays his nomination fee (10 Million Lebanese Pounds) and runs in Baabda Aley. March 14 coalition might be forced to re-admit legitmacy of thcurrent (president/not President)as he should sign the decree to call for elections. Failing to fill the vacant position within 60 days is also a violation to the constitution as well (that is March 17, 2006).

Now the funny part is that the one who nominated himself is just running for fun (he ran before for fun is the North elections):
He will cost the ministry a huge amount of money to organzie the elections (way more than his nomination fee), will make March14 bloc accept the Lahoud decree, and it will be fun if he would actually win as no one is taking him seriously...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

National Dialogue: Conference vs Security

It is very dangerous for the top 12 leaders to go to the Parliament amid the tension with Syria and Lahoud.

The security, I think, is directed more towards preventing protests, explosions.

What if any militia or armed group did an 'Oliver Cromwell' like attack on the House of Representatives?

The result will be very dangerous. Lahoud can impose a closed zone around their security square and hold them in his custody until further notice. In the name of preserving the constitution as they can be considered as violating the constitution and he can accuse them of preparing for a revolt against the Presidency and the nation. All major bloc leaders in Lebanon...